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Rise of Christianity

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  1. 1. 44 A Conquering New Faith: Christianity
  2. 2. Overview Christianity: part of a religious revolution begun centuries before Jesus Replacement of polytheism by monotheism Jesus lived and taught as a Jew  Own unique stamp on Jewish teachings  Missionary effort  Persecution and intern disagreements  Official religion of the East/West Roman state by 400
  3. 3. Sources of Christianity The Jews in the World of Greece and Rome Christianity began as Jewish sect  5-6 million at the time of Jesus  Many Jewish religious groups  Jews spread throughout the world Their god would protect his Chosen People  Did not seek out converts but Gentiles often followed their way of life
  4. 4. Jewish Disputes in a Changing World Rise of a new Jewish kingdom following revolt by the priestly family of the Maccabees against the Syrian king in 166 B.C. After 25 years Judea became an independent state under the Maccabees Rome captured Jerusalem in 63 B.C. Divisions and discontent among Jews  Influence of Hellenistic culture  Distrust of temple priests  Obedience of the Law  Pharisees  Groups set up separate communities Rome breaks up the Jewish kingdom and made Judaea a province of the empire  Rome respected Jewish religion  Heavy Roman taxation and governors corrupt  Revolt in 70 A.D.  Destruction of the Temple  Revolt in 135 A.D.  Jerusalem turned into a Roman city
  5. 5. Rise of Rabbinic Judaism  Rabbi (“my teacher”  Mishnah (“Repetition”), rabbi’s interpretation of the Law  Talmud (“Commentary”) Mystery Religions  Ancient vegetation myths  Mithraism Greek Philosophical Thought  Influence of Plato’s thought on Christianity Eternal soul distinct from the body Doctrine of Ideas  Stoicism
  6. 6. The Life and Teachings of Jesus The “Nature” of Jesus  The Gospels  Written by the disciples  Christ – the Anointed One The Sermon on the Mount  Ethical teachings of Jesus  By the disciple Matthew  Virtue  Blessed are the meek  Code of Conduct  Failure of the disciples
  7. 7. The Early Church and Its Expansion Missionary Beginnings: Pentecost  Fifty days after the Resurrection  First converts all Jews  Relationship of the Gentiles  Council of apostles and elders in Jerusalem in 44 A.D.  Importance of the destruction of the Temple, 70 A.D.  Gentile converts not bound by Jewish Law  Easter  Changes from Judaism
  8. 8. The Apostle Paul Born a Jew Apostle to the Gentiles Fulfillment of historical Judaism Cannot be saved by the law The Gospel superseded the Law, even for Jews Road to Damascus Interpreter of the new faith Gospel transcends all worldly relationships; all individuals are equal in the eyes of God Salvation based on faith How does a person receive faith
  9. 9. The Spread of Christianity Apostles found congregations: Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor Appeal and Rejection in the Age of Pax Romana  Jews in most of the cities  Universalism  Christian communities  Role of women
  10. 10. Spread of Christianity
  11. 11. Persecution of the Christians caused by own attitudes Christians often refused to associate with non-Christians Avoid public ceremonies in death Spoke out against venerating the emperor Declared the empire doomed to destruction Declared Roman gods and goddesses false MissionariesSpread of Christianity limited to eastern territory and western cities by 200 A.D. Rabbis call for stricter observance of the Law In the third century the pagan gods and goddesses seemed unable to protect the empire Christianity remained a minority Christians seen as contemptuous of established institutions
  12. 12. Growth and Persecution in the Empire’s Time of Troubles Christian message more convincing as the empire began to suffer struggles for succession, epidemics, and barbarian invasion Attacks from pagan philosophers Christianity banned by Rome in the first century A.D. as a danger to the state, now aggressive to stop spread of the religion  Diocletian 304-311 sought to destroy Christianity  Emperors have too many other problems to concentrate on Christianity  Christianity still a minority in urban and rural areas
  13. 13. The Growth of Christian Organization and Doctrine Baptism Eucharist or Mass Christianity became an institution The Rise of the Priesthood and the Emergence of Bishops  Clergy and laity  Ordination  Priests Hierarchy of the church  Bishop – successor of the original apostles  Apostolic succession  Diocese and parishes  Several diocese into a province  Metropolitan (Archbishop)  Jerusalem, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Rome  Patriarchs
  14. 14. Roman Supremacy: The Pope Power to excommunicate Establishment of a monarchy Question of when to celebrate Easter Authority of the Roman bishop  Petrine tradition  Patriarchs of the East reject Rome’s claim  Roman bishop claims “Vicar of Christ” on earth  By fifth century, bishop of Rome calling himself pope With conquests by Muslims in the seventh century (Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem), pope in Rome and patriarch in Constantinople were the only two powerful bishops left
  15. 15. The Canon of Scriptures Canon of Scriptures “Old Covenant” and “New Covenant” New Testament  Writings by Apostles or their companions Vulgate  Jerome’s Latin translation at the end of the fourth century
  16. 16. Doctrinal Differences: Orthodoxy and Heresy Doctrinal differences in ritual, rules of conduct, theology (explanation of God, the Creation, sin, and salvation) Gnosticism  Religious philosophical origins separate from Christianity, influenced by Plato  Spirit is the only true good  Matter is a cast off from the physical world when created  The body (matter) is a source of evil  Gain knowledge by which the soul may liberate itself and join with the universal spirit  Mystical insight  Dualistic concept of the universe in teachings of Zoroaster  Manichaeism and Albigensian heresy  Donatism, Donatus, Bishop of Carthage  Surrender of holy books during persecution of Diocletian  Rites performed by treasonous bishops invalid  Council of Arles decided against Donatus
  17. 17. The Council of Nicaea and the Trinitarian Creed Nature of Jesus and his relationship to God  Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria  Father and Son were two equal persons but of one substance  Arius, priest of Alexandria  Must have been a time when Christ did not exist and thus could not be coequal  Emperor Constantine  Christianity a source of discord, not unity  Council of Nicaea, 325  300 bishops attend  Creed of Nicaea – confirms Athanasius; Arius refuses to endorse  Christ is man and God  Council of Tyre  Reverses Nicaea: exiles Athanasius  Council of Constance, 381  Under Emperor Theodosius I reaffirms the Nicaean decision Continued divisions
  18. 18. The Worldly Victory of the Church The Alliance with the State  Diocletian  Underground movement to open and public  Public opinion shifts fo compassion  Emperors came to accept Christianity after Constantine’s edict of toleration, 313  Advice from bishops  Theodosius I legalized Christianity by making it the state religion and forbidding pagan rites, 381  Weakness of paganism  The Jews  Theodosius orders toleration of the Jews
  19. 19. Augustine: The Philosopher of Christian Victory Manichaeism - dualism Bishop of Hippo, North Africa Predestination  The “elect” “Earthly City” and “Heavenly City” Sacking of Rome, 410 The City of God Just War View of the future
  20. 20. Early Christian Monasticism  Escape from society  The Ascetic Ideal  Self-discipline The Hermit Monks: Anthony  Lives in the desert  Struggles with sexual desire  Influences others Regulated Communities: Basil, Jerome  Religious houses, Pachomius  Basil, bishop of Asia Minor  Jerome  Translation of the Bible Benedict and His Rule  Benedict of Nursia  Monastery at Monte Cassino  Benedictine Rule  Power of the abbot  Work  Regular and secular clergy
  21. 21. Discussion Questions How did the early developments of Judaism have an influence on the development of Christianity? What were the teachings and philosophy of Jesus? How do they reflect conditions in Judea and his own time? How and why did Christianity grow and spread? What difficulties did it face? How did these affect Christianity? What was the organization of the Christian Church? What were the strengths and weaknesses to this structure? What were the doctrinal problems facing Christianity and how were these resolved?
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